The COVID-19 crisis has brought about so much change in life as we once knew it. It’s changed the way we relate to each other and the way to we do our day-to-day activities. Working from home, lockdowns, self-isolation, physical distancing, and stay at home orders have intensified feelings of loneliness and isolation. The mandate to physically distance has left many of us socially isolated.
The isolation is even more challenging for individuals living alone, particularly single parents. Besides the challenge of balancing work and raising their kids single-handedly, single parents are now finding it hard to socialize with friends and peers. This loneliness can lead to overwhelming sadness, depression, stress, impaired sleep quality, and restlessness. But there are ways to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family despite the pandemic.
The isolation is even more challenging for individuals living alone, particularly single parents.
#1) Engage in Virtual Group Conversations
Social distancing and staying home is making it difficult to strengthen relationships. Organize a group zoom or skype call. Schedule the group calls every two weeks to give yourselves enough time in between to gather more interesting stories about life at home with the kids.
Schedule the call after dinner and make it a girls virtual get-together. Have a drink while you chat.
#2) Write Emails
Writing is a great way to express your emotion. By writing an email, you have full control of the content and how much time you want to invest. Sharing your emotional experiences with friends can strengthen your bond and offers a sense of stress release for you.
#3) Join Online Classes Together
Having enough time with kids is no longer an issue when you are locked down with them at home all day every day. A break from the humdrum can come in the form of taking online classes with people and not just a recorded class. Take courses with your friends, let’s say Spanish or craft. Being in the same virtual space allows you to create new experiences together and gives you something to talk about.
Think of it, you don’t have to travel anywhere, you still get to learn and you are spending virtual time with your friends.
#4) Host a Virtual Party
Finding fun even during lockdown and social isolation can boost your happiness, and connection. Invite your friends to a party night – create an online party, watch a movie together, play charades or play video games against each other.
If you have small kids, try to carve out time after your kids go to bed. All the above are inexpensive ways of creating fun times with friends. Even a few minutes of fun time can nourish your friendship.
#5) Go for Outdoor Walks
Its relatively safe to be taking walks outside in the open air as long as you are not in crowded pathways. Schedule a time to walk with one or two friends at a time. Bring your mask in case. A walk in the park to talk to have a more personal one-on-one is the type of real social interaction we all crave.
If you have a few friends, you can rotate having your weekly walks with them. Just maintain a 6 foot distance to stay safe and leave the kids at home if you they are old enough to be left alone. The walk will give you the much needed exercise as well.
#6) Keep your Promises
A healthy friendship is built on honesty and reliability. Your friends need to know they can depend on you through thick and thin. Make best efforts to stick to your plans and schedule. Don’t agree to schedule a call or video chat if you know it will not work well with your schedule. Keeping promises is a foundational piece in your friendship.
#7) Share Funny Stories and Posts
If you come across funny stories, videos and posts, share them. Laughter is good medicine especially during trying times. Sharing funny moments is a way to let your friend know that you’re thinking of them.
Stay in Touch
COVID-19 is harming not only physical and mental health, but also straining our relationships. It’s important to make every effort to maintain a strong and healthy connection with friends during this time. You need human interaction even if it is virtual. Share your feelings and emotions, express them verbally or in written form. You’ll find that these short interactions with your friends will help you maintain some sanity and balance in your life.